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12:13 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

The Investigation Into MD's Health Exchange, Education News, & Development In Remington

A look at the planned federal review of MD's health insurance exchange. Education news from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County. Plus: development in Baltimore's Remington, a bill that would shield some criminal records, and much more.

State Health Insurance Exchange To Be Investigated, But Do Voters Care? WYPR's Fraser Smith and John Fritze of the Baltimore Sun talk about federal auditors' announcement that they will review Maryland's health insurance exchange and what role Rep. Andy Harris (R) had in that decision. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.

Thornton’s Contract Approved: The Baltimore City school board has approved a new contract for new City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton. The 4-year contract would give Thornton a base annual salary of $290-thousand; matching the pay of the superintendent of Prince George’s County schools, who the Baltimore Sun reports is currently the highest paid superintended in the state. Thornton’s first day as City Schools CEO is July 1st.

Laptops For Baltimore County Students: The Baltimore County school board has approved a $205-million contract that would see laptops supplied to the system's 150-thousand students and teachers over the next seven years. Doing so is an initiative of County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance.  Yesterday’s deal would see the schools lease thousands of HP EliteBook Revolve laptops from Montgomery County-based Daly Computers Inc.; that company has technology contracts with the state and other Maryland school systems. More here from the Baltimore Sun.

The Search For AA County’s New Superintendent Of Schools: The Anne Arundel County Board of Education is getting closer to picking a new superintendent; the Annapolis Capital reports that the number of candidates has been narrowed down to seven. Some of those will be called back for a second round of interviews in the coming weeks… and will face a community panel, with members including parents, students, teachers, and elected officials. A member of the school board tells the Capital that the public will not have a chance to meet with the finalists before a superintendent is appointed on April 23rd.

"Main Street" Project May Accelerate Change In Remington: As you heard yesterday, the Remington neighborhood in North Baltimore is about to change. Just three blocks north of a planned Walmart, a second project hopes to be the neighborhood’s “Main Street.” WYPR’s Bret Jaspers reports.

Bill Would 'Shield' Some Criminal Records: Everyone makes mistakes – often they’re youthful mistakes – and everyone deserves a second chance. That was the message from supporters of the Maryland Second Chance Act in Annapolis yesterday. WYPR’s Christopher Connelly was at hearings in House and Senate committees that took up the legislation, and brings us this report.

“Wearhouse” To Acquire “Bank”: After months of wrangling, Maryland-based men's clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank has agreed to be acquired by its rival, Men's Wearhouse. The boards of directors of both companies have signed off on the deal, worth $65 per share, or $1.8-billion. Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will create a combined company with more than 17-hundred stores in the U.S. and about 23-thousand employees. The Baltimore Sun has more on the deal here.

Fired Fire Chief To Appeal Termination: The former acting fire chief at BWI Marshall Airport says he plans to appeal his termination. Last week, Gregory Lawrence -- the first African-American chief of the BWI Fire and Rescue Department --lost his job, amid complaints about lack of racial diversity at the department. Lawrence says that when he was fired by Maryland Aviation Agency officials on March 5th, he wasn’t given a reason for his termination. A spokesperson for the Maryland Aviation Agency tells the Annapolis Capital that all “applicable regulations and policies” were followed, but declined to comment further on what he called “a personnel matter.”

Electronic Tolling At The Chesapeake Bay Bridge: A proposal aimed at speeding up traffic at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has died in the House of Delegates. The Annapolis Capital reports that the House Environmental Matters Committee killed a bill that would have required that the conversion of nearly all the bridge’s toll lanes to electronic tolling over the course of the next ten years. Supporters of the bill said the move would ease congestion. A switch to electronic tolling is still possible… but it looks like an official a study of the idea will have to take place first; the Maryland Transportation Authority is supporting such a study, and a bill that would prompt one is currently moving through the Legislature.

WWII Ordnance At Fort Meade: A section of Fort Meade was evacuated yesterday, after utility workers found unexploded ordnance, apparently dating back to World War II. A spokesperson for the base tells the Baltimore Sun that the device was an “inert mortar training round.” It was removed yesterday afternoon, and people in the residential part of the base where it was found were allowed to return to their homes.

Graduate Education Program Rankings: Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education is #1… on the latest US News and World Report ranking of graduate education programs. This is the first time the program has been ranked at #1 on the list. The Baltimore Sun notes that two other Maryland schools had graduate education programs on the ranking; University of Maryland College Park’s program was listed as #26, while Towson University’s program came in at #116.

Preventing Underage Drinking In Baltimore County: Baltimore County is taking steps to prevent underage drinking during St. Patrick's Day festivities. To that end, the county Liquor Board and health department are sponsoring a training seminar at Sheppard Pratt in Towson for local bar, restaurant and liquor store owners. Some 200 owners and managers will hear from experts on how to combat underage drinking and identify increasingly sophisticated fake IDs. 

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